Australian boys start watching porn at 13

ALMOST 90 per cent of young Australians have viewed pornography, with boys on average starting at the age of 13 and more likely to be better educated.

A Melbourne study of almost 1000 people aged 15-29 looked at links between pornography use and sexual behaviour and mental health problems.

It found that those who viewed the most pornography, particularly from a young age, were more likely to be male, have a higher education and have recent mental health problems.

Writing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, researchers said almost all young men regularly accessed pornography but it should not be assumed that young women did not watch and enjoy it.

While laws prohibited people under the age of 18 from viewing pornography, this was not preventing them accessing it at a young age.

"Therefore it is vital that pornography is addressed as part of high school sexuality education programs, if not sooner," they wrote.

Curtin University department of sexology lecturer Matt Tilley said there was a curiosity factor about pornography and viewing it in later adolescence was not necessarily harmful.

"We give people access to the internet in their pockets and then we expect them not to be curious," he said.

"But guidance is so vital to support young people in how they access the internet.

"When it comes to the impact of porno-graphy, young people mightn't have adequate framework to interpret what they're viewing in a way that keeps it healthy.

"We also have to be mindful about age, because when we're talking about a 13-year-old, I don't believe pornography is appropriate at all."

Mr Tilley said studies had shown that young males who viewed pornography were more likely to regard women as sexual objects and try to replicate what they viewed with their young female partners.

This could have a negative effect on both men and women, distorting their view of sex.

He said comprehensive sexuality education was essential to limit harm from pornography.

News Corp Australia


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